ECONOMY

Texas Pacific Group buys major raki maker in Turkey

ISTANBUL – Turkish drinks company Mey Icki, the maker of raki, the country’s most famous tipple, said yesterday US private equity firm Texas Pacific Group had bought 90 percent of the firm. Mey Icki management board chairman Husnu Dogan told a news conference the deal valued the company at $900 million (697 million euros). In April, Mey said it had sealed a strategic cooperation deal with Texas Pacific but it released no financial details for the accord with one of the largest private equity firms. «Approval has been received from the competition board and the… alcoholic drinks market regulatory body for the signed agreement and the transfer of shares has taken place,» Dogan said. He said the Turkish consortium of Nurol, Limak, Ozaltin and Tutsab would retain a 10 percent stake of the company. The consortium bought Mey Icki, the alcoholic drinks arm of the Turkish state alcohol and tobacco company Tekel, in February 2004 in a privatization tender for $292 million (226 million euros). Nurol, Limak and Ozaltin had each held 29 percent of the company, while Tutsab had a 13 percent stake. Foreign investment in Turkey, which is targeting 5 percent economic growth this year, has increased sharply since talks for European Union membership were launched in October 2005.